Talking to my 18 year old sister about Valentines Day, she spouted off a whole lot of anti-Valentines day cynicism. Now, I’m not saying that her points about it being commercial and that love shouldn’t be celebrated on only one day aren’t valid. But for someone who hasn’t been through a relationship never mind the joys and heartbreaks of love, the cynicism just doesn’t make sense and seems a little rehearsed. And this is where, I believe that media both perpetuates the Valentines Day hype as well as the cynicism for those who don’t have a partner. It’s a role to play the jaded singleton and if it were a movie, this jaded singleton would, at the last minute, be surprised by their secret crush with a bouquet of red roses. Perhaps, that’s in the back of each ‘spinster in the making’s’ mind.
And, the lovers of this day. The ones that buy heart decorated pajamas and look forward to the bouquet of red roses or the men who buy red lacy underwear, (because really that’s the only appeal for them). Much like any holiday whether it’s Christmas or Easter, it’s the value set behind buying into this commercially driven day, which should be looked at. True, no man should need an excuse to buy roses for the women he loves but Valentines Day can provide a catalyst for the beginnings of relationships and can embolden even the most timid admirer. Like every holiday or special day, Valentines Day can be used to unify people and in a society that works to alienate us from our neighbors and at times, ourselves, a little unity is always a good thing. Just this morning, our client, Netflorist, suffered a huge setback with drivers striking all over the country on the biggest delivery day of their entire year. With 800 deliveries due locally Netflorist have appealed to friends and family to deliver their Valentines flowers and parcels to those depending on them. Something like that speaks volumes as to the importance of customer- client relationship. But the most important relationship, is that relationship between the sender of the flowers and the women who receives them, who will feel special and cared for.
So if I’m not with the lovers or the haters and in my mind, not a 'spinster in the making', where do I stand on ‘Single awareness Day’? Neither apathetic nor cynical, my experience has been that this day has the capacity to inspire regardless if it’s the inspiration of a boy sending a card, flowers or a heartfelt email to a girl. Or in the midst of a crisis, people volunteering to make sure that clients receive their flowers. Or in my case, finding inspiration in myself to write and to know that Valentines day won’t always be spent alone.
If I were to follow the theme of Valentines Day, it’s about love, right? So this year, it’s about loving myself and knowing what I deserve. The sight of the red roses won’t make me aware of my lack of a Valentine, but rather aware of how beautiful they are and why they’re my favourite flower. And what about the lack of a date? It’s an excuse to catch up with an old friend over some wine and some good food in one of Joburg’s quirky restaurants.
To the lovers of this day, enjoy curling up with your Valentine and enjoy the flowers and the chocolate. To the haters, love yourselves and love the people in your lives whether they’re your family or friends. At all costs avoid drinking yourself into a stupor and singing ‘’, I promise you won’t die alone and be eaten by Alsatians.